Statement of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand on Shooting of Mr. Chaiyaphum Pasae: An Ethnic Lahu Activist and Chair of the Tonkla Indigenous Youth Network

On 17 March 2017, Mr. Chaiyaphum Pasae, a 17-year-old 10th grade student and ethnic Lahu activist and Chair of the Tonkla Indigenous Youth Network, was extra-judicial killed by a soldiers attached to the 5th Cavalry Action Task Force, 2nd Cavalry Company, stationed at the narcotics inspection check point located at Rin Luang Village, Muang Na Sub-district, Chiangdao District, Chiangmai Province, Thailand, and arrested Mr. Pongnai Saengtala (Chaiyaphum’s friend), 19 years of age.

This incident created great sadness and serious concern among those of us involved in the social actions of the Tonkla Indigenous Youth Network [TKN], our government agency partners, and organizations working to protect human rights, and indigenous networks [Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand, NIPT]. The reasons for our distress were engendered by the fact the fact that Mr. Chaiyaphum Pasae has always been a polite and well behaved individual opposed to violence who sacrificed himself to hard work in assisting local communities. He was a stateless person without Thai citizenship who enjoyed helping his friends and was devoted to improving his own potential, becoming a local youth leader well respected by his fellow 10-12th grade students at Chiangdao Wittayakom School. His grades [No. 2 in his class] reflected this.  He was also an activist dedicated to fighting for the rights and citizenship of those marginalized in Thai society, while often performing as a Lahu musician and composer of songs reflecting the problems of youth without citizenship and social acceptance. In addition, Chaiyaphum was a gentle person who loved his friends and peers and liked to join in various camp activities as a volunteer. These experiences led to his production of short films disseminated through public media. He is considered as a genuine role model for indigenous persons willing to sacrifice for the common good.

The extra-judicial killing of such a person as Chaiyaphum Pasae is an example of the excessive use of force, especially when Thailand has laws governing the proper treatment of children and youth. For example, the 2001 law on the Protection of Vulnerable Children, and the 2008 law on the Family Court and procedures for consideration of youth and family cases. Both of these laws have defined the standards for protecting children physically, emotionally, and with respect to their identity & reputation, as well as their rights and benefits, e.g. the protection and freedom from maltreatment of all children in Thailand, regardless of economic, social, legal, religion or ethnic status; including the international Convention of the Rights of the Child [to which Thailand is a signatory], which states: “No child will be tortured or mistreated or severely, inhumanely, or immorally punished. There will be no execution or life imprisonment without the opportunity for parole.”

The Network of Indigenous People in Thailand [NIPT], which aims to protect the human rights, lifestyles, traditions, and cultures of indigenous peoples and partner organizations and networks working for justice in Thai society, hereby declares and calls for the following:

  1. We denounce the action of the soldiers responsible for the summary execution of Mr. Chaiyaphum Pasae, a brutal, barbaric and inhumane action.
  2. We call on General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister of the Royal Thai Government and related human rights organizations, especially the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, to immediately visit the site of the incident in order to collect all facts in the case wherein Mr. Chaiyaphum Pasae was summarily executed or extra-judicial killed.
  3. We request that all concerned state agencies responsible for public safety institute effective standards and mechanisms in examining the true facts in this incident and immediately ensure justice for the deceased and his family and others arrested and imprisoned at this time.

The Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand [NIPT], together with partner organizations and networks, will monitor and verify the actions of the state authorities with regard to the above requests, and will be pleased to support all positive operations by both individuals and organizations.

With confidence in the goodness of Mr. Chaiyaphum Pasae and justice now!

21 March 2017

Signatory partner organizations and networks;

  1. Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand [NIPT]
  2. Ton-Kla Indigenous Youth Network [TKN]
  3. Sangsan for future youth Network
  4. CSOs for Gender Equality
  5. Rainbow Dream Group
  6. Network of Southern Indigenous People
  7. Southern Indigenous Peoples Council (Mokan, Moklen, and Urak-lawoi)
  8. Indigenous Women Network of Thailand [IWNT]
  9. Creative Media Network of Mae Hong son Province.
  10. Network of Thai Yai
  11. Center for Studies and Recovery of Community Cultural Ecology-Phetchaboon Mountain Range.
  12. Upland Highland Development Project
  13. EMPOWER Foundation
  14. Foundation for the Promotion of Social Equality
  15. Women Friends Center of Aumnart Charoen Province
  16. Women Association for Peace
  17. Inter-Mountain Peoples’ Education & Culture in Thailand Association [IMPECT]
  18. Human Rights Protection and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Promotion Network
  19. Network of Voluntary Women for Betterment of City Life
  20. Voluntary Law for Women Club
  21. Foundation for the Protection of Children and Women
  22. Network for the Protection of Indigenous Rights
  23. The Network of 58 Children and Youth-based Organisations
  24. Assistance Federation for Mon vulnerable in boundary zone
  25. Karen Network for Cultural and Education [KNCE]
  26. Karen Network for Cultural and Education [KNCE] – Tanao Sri region.
  27. Indigenous Knowledge and Peoples [IKAP]
  28. Indigenous Media Network [IMN]
  29. Indigenous Peoples Foundation for Education and Environment [IPF]
  30. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact [AIPP]
  31. Tamthai Fund

…………………………….

If you need any additional or information data, please contact:

Coordinating Secretariat of Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT)
252 M.2, T. Sansai Noi, A.San Sai, Chiang Mai 50210 Thailand
Tel: +66(0) 53 39-8591, Fax: +66(0) 53 39-8592, Email: [email protected]

Click here to download full statement.

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